Is $18,000 enough for a high end HT?

This will be my first attempt at building a HT. My room size is: 19'L x 11'2"W x 8'H. This room is a library. I want high-end stuff. I want my windows to rattle when the Apollo 13 takes off. I want to be tempted to get up and dance when a good music score comes on. I want to build it myself as I think it would be a lot of fun. I have plenty of vacation time that I could use. The following is what I would expect:

1. A projector with Texas Instruments' Mustang/HD2 and 16:9 aspect ratio
2. Recessed screen
3. 5 on or in ceiling speakers (Thiel or Triad I’m thinking)
4. 1 Subwoofer
5. DVD player
6. Power Conditioner
7. Processor
8. A 5 channel Amplifier
9. Cables for the items on the list

When I priced every thing I wanted individually the price came to over 25K. Bare in mind $18,000 is a lot of money for me. However, I figured since we spend a ¼ of our lives watching TV it is well worth the investment. I invested some money a few years ago explicitly for my HT. Besides, I figured if my wife is not happy with all the money I will be spending, I could just say, that I am not taking the money from our cash flow, rather from a fund specifically set up for a HT. I am thinking maybe I should pull money out now. But is 18k enough? I am not willing to spend that kind of money if I will not have a great HT. Perhaps I should wait a couple of more years until I save up more money and the technologies go down in price. (I'm concerned that I will say that in two years again as I did two years ago. There are always newer technologies coming out.) I have no experience with any dealer and want to know if I could expect such a deal from a reputable authorized dealer. I read in Robert Harley’s book: “Home Theater For Everyone” that choosing the dealer is far more important then choosing the manufacturer of the components. In my experience for other purchases I find this to be very true. It seems there will always be tech support issues. Also, when I want to upgrade and add components, the dealer will know exactly what I have and all of my issues and I would be able to get his/her valuable input. I plan on adding within the next year or so, an AMX system for control, a video processor and an HDTV set top box.

The cables I would start off not so high end as I want to see for myself over time if they make a difference. However, the cables that would go in my ceiling I would want high end because it would be a big pain to replace those. I would also be flexible with the projector, I would settle for a refurbished or demo unit (with valid warranty). I would even settle for a good one that has an HD1 chip and an XGA resolution. I have seen some of those and they are definitely good enough.
As an aside, DO buy the AMX controller system. I am a shareholder in the company and the stock has been taking a beating over the last couple of years.
The sub may rattle your windows but I am doubtful of calling a system with on/in ceiling speakers high end. You need the front ones, especially the center channel, much closer to the horizontal plane of the screen.

Choose a dealer (or two) and ask him about the speaker arrangement.
I don't think you can complete a "high end" home theater for 18k but it would surely get you off to a good start. There is nothing wrong with building it piece by piece. I have over 60k in mine and I have not even added the subs or surrounds yet!!! However, you can build a very enjoyable and respectable high quality home entertainment center for 18k or less.
You can if you buy carefully and buy used. You can save a lot especially with amps which are easy to find used.
$18k does not = high end, in HT. It may, get you some respect. I only know this from reading, but Wvick seems to know the deal. peace, warren
Hey Y'all,

I agree with Bulldogger, if you do some research and buy wisely, you can get a very respectable HT system within your price range. I've purchased more than 50% of the system I've put together used on Audiogon. I'm very happy. Good luck and happy hunting.........John
First of all, don't let others define high-end for you. It's too easy to feel bad that you didn't buy a fashionable brand. Remember, there are definitely value brands that qualify as high-end.

I read the book too and let me just say after visiting 13 high-end shops in 6 different states, they are all just retailers with personal biases and profits/commissions critical to their recommendations. Only one did not openly make suggestions and attempt to influence my perception of equipment. In fact, when I asked this guy what he liked, his response was, "It doesn't matter what I like." He passed the test, but my $30K was slumming in his shop.

Two suggestions regardless of what you buy, 1) find a custom installer who will quietly sell below manufacturers numbers; they're out there. And/or 2) buy used.

You can hit your number if you pass on the DLP and buy a rear projection. Remember HD-DVD is coming and it ain't an incremental change. Spend moderately on the video side it is going become obsolete much faster than speakers and amps.

Also, something that is overlooked by most, the room accoustics. Listen to lot's of stuff in different environments. Ask the demo folks to move the equipment into a second room. I have listened to nice equipment sound like crap in one room and really fine in other rooms. You may need a minimum of $2-3K for room treatments.

Good luck. Unless your going to have a revolving door in your media room and continually trade stuff, take your time.
You don't have to spend 10k on a DLP system, buy a good XGA or WXGA LCD (Sanyo, Sony, etc) for ~$5,000 new.. see and buy a Da-Lite screen instead of Stewart and save $$$$ with little difference (IMHO.. later upgrade as necessary). fixed screen is cheaper than motorized.. (Talk to Jason) can provide Bomb suggestions, service and $$$...

The recommendation on room treatment is critical.. If you find a decent in-wall let me know.. I'm looking to simplify but the all have sucked for me at dealers....... limited here in Colorado Springs.

Also don't forget power treatment
5000.00-Plasma TV(forget the projector) 4000.00 Martin Logan Ascents(fronts) 2800.00 Martin Logan Descent Sub 1700.00 Martin Logan Scripts(rear surrounds) 1700.00 Martin Logan Cinema(center channel) 3000.00 Classe SSP 30 Pre/Pro 4000.00 Classe CAV 180 5 Channel amp 1500.00 Marantz DV 8300 Grand Total-23,700+1300.00(power/surge)= 25000.00 I guess you can't have it for 17000.00(new/retail) So use this as a guide. Modify it to your needs/tastes Shop on Audiogon. Look for some 2nd hand bargains,and I'm sure you can put together a killer system. Alot of us could only dream of having 17K from jump street for H/T. Good Luck
No offense, but this isn't a high end system. I guess its all a matter of what your used to, but 18k is a relatively small price to pay for a home theater obviously it is too much if you get bad equipment. In a high end system you can expect to pay anywhere from 15 to 80k for the projector. Retail from 3 to 40k for a scaler. 2k for the screen. Speakers anything from 15 to 80k. On and on. If you are buying from a dealer I would do a lot of research here and elsewhere to determine if you are truly getting a good value for your money and honestly assess your own capability of putting the system together.
Personally, I would get a $1,500 - $2,000 projector. Like the Z-1 or the HS-10 or the new panasonic. This should hold you off for a few years until HD-DVD comes out. Spend the rest of the money on used equipment like everyone else said. I agree with the statement that ceiling speakers don't cut it as well. But with all the money saved on the video side, you should be able to get floorstanders for mains and on-wall or bookshelves for rears.
I hate when people throw around "this isn't high-end" and phrases like that.

High-end is what you make it. If it looks and sounds good to you then it's high-end. You could spend $18k on a pair of stereo speakers ferchrissakes.

What kind of system do you have now? What is your current HT equipment?

Da-Lite fixed screen...$1000
Sanyo PLV-70 projector $5000
B&K Ref30 pre/pro $1200 used.
Panasonic RP-91 DVD $400 used. (Best picture you could ever want)
Paradigm Servo-15 sub $1200
Odyssey Stratos stereo amp $1000
Odyssey Stratos HT3 3 channel amp $1400
Panamax M5510 power filter/condition/protector $1100
If this will be a HT ONLY setup then go for the similar-sized speakers all the way around...if you will play music as well then go for larger mains and smaller surrounds.
For music AND HT go with:
Revel F30 floorstanders (pr) $2500 used
Revel F20 rears (pr) $1200 used
Revel C30 center $1000 used
Go with Revel F20 front mains if this will be just a HT setup (although the F20's are AWESOME speakers no matter what the application...some people want more bass in their music for larger rooms and the F30's offer that).

Cables are also personal preference but I use all Bettercables stuff...all those cables for a whole system can get pricey...figure about $3k for decent cabling without breaking the bank.

Man I wish I had that kind of money for a HT shopping spree ;)
I think rather than worry about how much you are going
to spend,find a competent dealer to put a system together
for you.I believe in HT installation is everything!
Well, I don't know whether it's enough for "high end HT", but I can tell you it's not nearly enough for your username... ;^)
Yes you can,Their are two types of Audio/Video Philes,The must have Brand Name Hunters and the Music and Movie lover's.Do your homework well,Seek individuals that truly know what they are talking about,for example most High End Sales persons are that Sales people,More interested in profit than the final performance of your system.Yes their are very honest and knowledgeable sales people, Get References,before wholeheartly trusting any specific person.Audiogon is a great place to build a so called reference system for at least 40% of Retail.In other words you should be able to build a $30K to $40K system with the budget of $18K as you Mentioned.Take your Time $18K is alot of money.If i could help you please email me,I'll be more than happy to help.Thanks JOSE
Jeow wrote: "If it looks and sounds good to you then it's high-end." By that token, anything is high end including a $20 table radio.

OTOH, I agree with your specific suggestions and reiterate that the OP should avoid in-ceiling speakers all around.
Folks at some point you define the product. If I say I am buying a high auto and buy a buick is that high end? As opposed to a mercedes 500 series or a porsche. You can certainly get good deals on high end equip over the web, but it is not snobbery to suggest their are simply different quality levels of equipment with a different price tag. If you spend 18k and love the equipment so be it. The initiator of this thread put the tag highend next to the price tag. The question may have been better put can I get a good system for 18k, and the answer is with research of course.
One man's high end is another man's low end in this audio/video game, projectors can eat up a budget real quick so you need to shop around in that department for a good deal. Spend some time at the avs forum reading and asking as much as you can about projectors. Things are, and will continue to change so fast in the video world that what you buy today could be outdated very soon, this computer I am typing on was state of the art just three years ago, a lot can change in a short time. With HDTV, HighDef. DVD comming in the future and who knows what on all the interface types for these products. That being said, you need to stay up and even ahead of the curve on what ever type of video you go with, projector/RPTV/Plasma or any of the other new kids on the block. The audio part of the system is not as great a risk to become outdated, most of the new audio modes are bells and whistle types of add on anyway. If your handy with tools and understand how to set up a two channel system, then with a lot of reading, thought, and care you will have a great sound system, the internet is a wealth of info. and a great place to buy used audio gear. You should do very well for $18,000 if you put the time and effort into it. I have had just such a project going on for about a year now ( I am slow ) and it's been fun and very rewarding.
18,000 will get you a great HT system, do the home work and buy here on Agon and DONT listen to the no you can't people! Remember the $18,000 is going to get you approx. $36,000 retail if you buy used!
I would pay much attenion to the electronics first then the video! Another thing is how you match up componets as this is very important, have heard many $50,000 systems that could have been better considering what they spent!! Just my $18,000 worth!
Happy buying spree!!!!!!!!
The new Panasonic projector that Tpidgeon mentioned is the PT-L300U. It's been out since January and is NOT a data projector like most in that price range. I had the opportunity to do a side-by-side comparison with a $12,000 projector that was just a couple of years old and the differences were, at most, slight. It's available for under $2000. Mitsubishi also makes a nice unit for around $3500. I don't remember the model, but think it started with "XD". It's not really much better than the Panasonic, but has a few more lumens for room applications that have more ambient light.

Da-Lite has a new screen that isn't in their catalog quite yet (but I think it's on their website under "new products") called "high contrast matte white" and is great for use with projectors. Da-Lite's customer service is great, too. Stuart is SERIOUSLY over-priced, IMHO.

That'll leave you with a little extra cash to spend on better sound, acoustic treatments for the room (very important) and a second sub.


Yes (saying so resoundingly)!!!! $18K is definitely enough money to put together a home theater system. Don't let any naysayers here tell you otherwise. Considering you can put together an entry-level home theater system for less than $2K and a highly respectable one for around $3K to about $5K, there is no reason why you cannot put together a high-end, reference caliber system for $18K if you shop around and get the best deal possible. Audiogon is one place in which you can do just that. Even with that kind of money, it is possible to get more bang for your buck. Because what you could possibly get for $18K today has probably costed about $40K to about $60K at retail a few years ago. And if you cannot put together a reference quality system for $60K, then something is wrong with you.

But anyway, if I had $18K to spend on a home theater (WHICH I DON'T), then here's the way I would do it:

Speaker System: For a complete matching speaker system, you could finish the Thiel job that you have started and go with a used pair of Thiel CS 3.6, and then match them up with a matching Thiel MCS1 to go with the Thiel Powerpoints that you already have installed inside of your ceiling. One alternative would be to seek out a used pair of Aerial Acoustics Model 10T's and then mate them to a matching Model CC3B Center Channel and keep the Thiel Powerpoints as your surrounds. Or the last alternative would be to seek out a used pair of B&W 802 Nautilus and match them up with a matching Nautilus HTM Center Channel, and still again, keep your Thiel Powerpoints as your surrounds. Price -- $4,000.00 (Fronts) + $1,000.00 (Center Channel) = $5,000.00 (all used).

Subwoofer: For a subwoofer that is consistent with the quality of the rest of the system, I would look at either a Paradigm Servo-15 or a Velodyne HGS-15. Both of these monsters will provide more than enough power and slam to shake the infrastructure of your said listening area. For the ultimate in room shaking and window rattling power, I would go for two subs if you think you can afford it. Prices -- Paradigm Servo-15 -- $1,300.00, and the Velodyne HGS-15 -- $2,200.00.

Electronics (meaning the amplification): For an $18K system, I would opt for a separate surround sound preamplifier and a separate multi-channel power amplifier. In this category, my favorite tends to be the Rotel RSP-1066 and (in your case, I would go for the most power I can buy) the matching RMB-1095 (200W x 5). But I would check out the new Parasound Halo C2 and the matching Parasound A51 (also.... 200W x 5). The price for the Rotel pair is $1,500.00 for the RSP-1066 Surround Processor and about $2,000.00 for the matching Power Amplifier. I would suspect that the new Parasound Halo pairing is identically priced.

DVD Player: If both video quality and sound quality matter to you, and you do not want to pay an arm and a leg for a reference quality player, then I would have to say that you have only one choice here. And that is the Sony DVP-NS999ES. Otherwise, I would try to seek out an used Arcam DV-88 or an used Arcam FMJ DV-27. And in the case of those Arcam players, make sure that they have the latest chips inside of them, and that they are up to the latest specs before parting with your green. Otherwise, go with a brand new Sony DVP-NS999ES. At least, you know what you're getting up front when you decide to opt for a newer Sony. The Sony DVP-NS999ES retails for about $1,200.00. But if you shop around, you should be able to get one for around $900.00 or so.

Video: For the video equation of this system, I may have to go along with the suggestion that "Tpigeon" and "Jimbo3" has made earlier. If you can, go with a fixed screen. Otherwise, a motorized one is going to cost you quite a bit more. Or, you can save yourself the trouble of calibrating a projector and a screen together altogether and get a plasma display. You should be able to get a 50" model from the likes of Panasonic, Runco, Sony (and probably, a few others) for around $6,000.00 to about $8,000.00 or so. See if you can find any closeout bargains either at any specialty video stores in your locality or somewhere on the internet.

Power Conditioning: I like "Joew's" suggestion for a Panamax M5510. But I would also take a look at Monster Cable's HTPS-7000. For a system that costs about $18K or more, you're going to need all of the protection you can get. The price for the Panamax M5510 -- $1,100.00. The Monster Cable HTPS-7000 is priced at about $1,300.00.

Cables: I don't know what kind of sound you are looking to get when it comes to cable, and since the choice of cables tend to be a subjective and personal one, I am going to leave you on your own here. But since I don't take home theater too seriously, I tend to use Monster Cable cables in my own home theater (which costs about $3K..... but will start changing some of the components in it starting late summer or early fall). I use MIT cables in my audio system (and that is separate from my home theater system).

Well...... I think that about sums it up right now. If you have any further questions, please, do not hesitate to e-mail me.

Good Luck and Happy Shopping!!!!!

I wish I had about $18K to spend on a home theater!!!!


P.S.: BTW........ can any of you spot me $18K so that I can buy me a state-of-the-art home theater as well (LOL)????

Just Kidding!!!!!!!
Dude, don't believe the people who say you can't have a great system. You can.

Also, video is the most satisfying part of HT and outweights audio imho. That big screen is where your audience will be glued. I would for instance definitely go with a fixed frame stewart. Stewart is the hollywood of the industry, and they are built absolutely amazing, and all custom spec'd. You can always switch out fabrics later. Customer service is top notch, and why put a V8 in a Yugo if you know what I am saying. Spend the whopping 500 more than a Dalite, and do it right the first time.

For a pj, i recommend the Sanyo PLV 70 or NEC HT1000. Both can be had under 5k. + 1200 for a screen = 6200. No scalar required for EITHER. Don't do retractable screen either to keep cost down.

Stick with surefire things on audio--M&K S150s across the front, SS150s in the rear. That should be 3k. Awesome HT sound, all mountable, and designed for HT. I have heard Apollo 13 on these, and it is jaw-dropping for the price.

For electronics, I agree on separates as you can get good separates for same price as mega receiver. Go with a B&K Ref 50 and a Sherbourn 5/1500A. That should be 3.5k. Couple SVS subs for another 1500 and you are in business. BTW, since you want the earth shaking i have included 2. Contact SVS with your room requirments and go with there suggestion. Again, another company with exception service. 8k on the audio side.

Your dvd player should be the latest and greatest Panasonic for under 200 bucks.

That leaves the remaining 4k for seats/room acoustics. Cables i suggest building yourself, and save your self hundreds of dollars. Either that, or go to Well-built, not expensive.

See, you can do it, and many have done it for less. BTW, you could even conceivable go HD2 with this budget if you find a good price. My personal fav (and the one i own) is the Marantz S2.

Good luck!

Hi End is, obviously, from the posts here, is in the ears of the it should be. peace, warren

Your quote is: "See, you can do it, and many have done it for less."

And my answer is: Yep........ a LOT less as a matter of fact. I couldn't agree with you more.

Thank you all for your most informative advice and inspiring words. When I told my wife my plan to incorporate a HT in our library she agreed on the condition I make it “invisible.” After reading all your advice, I strengthened my resolve and told my wife it would be a shame to spend all that money and never truly getting high-end sound. I then showed her an ad for the KEF Q Series speakers that are in all the HT magazines that I buy. I showed her that speakers could actually be beautiful. She agreed. Anyway, now I am back to square one. I thought I had the speakers worked out and I would work around that. Unless, I could be lucky and the KEF speakers are great sounding speakers. I also showed her the B&W Nautilus. She likes them as well. However, the Nautilus is probably out of my price range.

As of now I plan on going to audition the KEF’s Q Series, 201 w/stands and the 202c. (Unless I could find a good deal for the Nautilus.) I think it would be great if I could make my wife and I happy at the same time.

As for the sources, I plan on auditioning the Krell Showcase as they now have a deal to get $2,000 off.

I still would have to get a recessed screen since it will be in front of a bay window. I just got solicited from Draper for a screen; they claimed they are around $1,000 cheaper than Stewart for the recessed screen and that they are just as good. Can anyone verify this?
EVERYBODY is less expensive than Stuart. Usually by ALOT. Guess if you have a champagne budget and the eyes of a hawk, the infintessimal difference might be sufficient justification.

By recessed, do you mean a ceiling roll-up or a fixed screen recessed into the bay? If it's a ceiling mount, you'll need to make sure the joists are parallel with the case as you can't cut into the joists without some serious structural problems to overcome.
The joist detector was actually my first investment.
I have a fealing that you would not get much more enjoyment out of a $50,000 system than you would with something like Krelldog's system. Your on the right track with this thread. Just keep asking questions.
I see a lot of people on this site think of "high end" as the best of the best. $18,000 for a high-end home theater? Absolutely! It can be done and quite easily at that. $18,000 for a "state of the art" high-end home theater? Probably not.
I think it depends on how much of the work you can do yourself. If you do everything yourself and buy used equipment, you should have a decent HT system. $18,000 will buy a nice system, but this does not do anything for the room. The room itself has a huge effect on the HT environment and sound. You couls easily spend another $18,000 on the room alone. I have about $30,000 invested in my HT room and I did all of the work myself. I would not consider my room Hi-End. It is awesome and people freek when they walk in for the first time, but it is not HI-End. (In my mind) Hi-End would cost you about $75-100,000. Everyone has different opinions of what Hi-End is, but lets face the facts. It's not going to happen on $18,000
If you are smart about spending your $$$, you will have a kick ass system.

First off, no need to spend a fortune on the video path.

NEC XG-110LC $3500 used
Home Theater PC with Immersive H3DII - less than $2000 new
Da-Lite 48"x84" 1.5 gain screen. Do not get a retractable unless it is tensioned, which is expensive. A fixed screen will do well and if you want to cover it up, put up some drapes.

This will give you a video path that will smoke ANY digital projection system AT ANY PRICE as long as you are not wanting to run an insane sized screen where the brightness of a digital is required. The HTPC will scale anything including HDTV!

You would be out less than $6500 for your video system.

For audio, a nice 7.1 system with speakers, sub and processor/amp combo could be had for $6000. Not high end by Audiogon standards, but high end by J6P standards, easily. I will leave that part of the equation to others.

With the remaining $$, you could get an SDI modified DVD changer ($1100) and HTPC control software/hardware (MainLobby, DVDLobby, DVDProfiler, sLINKe $400) and you will have a 300 disc Escient style system for DVD. Add in $500 and get yourself a D-Theater HDTV VCR and another $600 for a Samsung SIR T-165 and you can watch anything in the native rate it was broadcast in (720p for ABC, 1080i for others) and record HDTV on your HDTV VCR.

Add another $1000 for a Buttkicker, amp and parts to make a floating platform and you will have some bass sensations you cannot get with subwoofers at any price. Or, you could pass on this part and upgrade the sound system by $1K.

You can even pay for tax if you don't buy out of state and still have $500 left for some movies.
It is possible to have a high end HT for $18,000, but you are going to have to work hard to do it.

First you have to educate yourself on the equipment out there so you can get the best bang for your buck. Asking questions at this forum is a good start. I have been involved with this forum for a year now. At this point I feel informed enough to set up a good system.

Don't be afraid to buy good used equipment at this sight for half price. You are taking a chance, but if you are informed, you can usually get a good bargain. Most people that sell used items here are honest and just want to sell their equipment so they can take the next step up the ladder. Large TVs need to be purchased locally, but everything else could be gotten used over the internet.

Some equipment needs to be high end to get good results, some equipment is not cost efficient at the high end. With a 19 foot room for example, a large screen HD projection TV is a much better bargain, than a plasma TV, or front projection TV. Speaker wire and interconnects reach their point of deminishing returns with about 99.9% pure copper. Nordost has 99.999999% copper with a silver coating up to $3,000 a yard. Obviously that would be a wasted investment on a $18,000 system. On the other hand, speakers, amplifiers, digital processors have to be high end to sound good. Just make sure that you get them used to stay in your price range. This is enough to keep you occupied for a while. I hope this helps.

Wow. Alot of people have some pretty serious demands for a high end HT.

Im not too sure i agree with high end HT. Come on, its a movie. I have a HT system for under 10k that sounds absolutly incredible. I have yet to hear something better. Im not saying that its the best, im sure there are ones better than it, but sound-wise its fantastic. I dont have the HDTV yet, but non-the less, soundwise it is straight up to par.

If this is strictly a HT system and not 2chan, why not go budget and get great sound?

Here is a HT system that would cost under 10 grand and sound incredible.

Sunfire grand cinema approx 1,200 used
Sunfire 200w 5ch Amp, approx 1,000 used
Deftech BP2004TL, F/R/SL/SR, about 3,300 NEW
Deftech CLR about 800 New
Good DVD player Roughly 1000 new
Cable throughout estimate7,000
Projector, roughly 2000 used
TOTAL---------------------- total about 10,000

with the deftechs built in subwoofers, an additional sub is optional, but probably not needed. The above system would be a rocking home theater that would easily sound better than any of the cineplexes you might go to.

HT is so easy and cheap to make it sound great, Its a total different world than 2chan music, you dont need to invest a whole lot into it.

No offence to everyone else, but if you have to spend over 10k for a good HT setup, because you cannot appreciate a movie with the system listed above, you are pretty anal.
No "HIGH END" i guess 40,000+ is going to sound a whole lot better than the system i listed. It might sound a little better, but is that small improvement worth 30,000?

I can understand a 50,000 2ch setup, but not in a HT. unless you really just have money to burn and demand the best.
Slappy, why not incorporate the $50,000 two channel stereo into your home theater. Unfortunately I listened to too many opinions here that frown on combined HT and 2 channel stereo. When there's a will, there's a way. I thought long and hard about how to combine the two together and I came up with a way to do it, and it works well for me. If you like the great sound with your movies and already have a high end stereo, just think about it for a while and everything will fall in place. All that you will need extra for a high end HT is a HD TV, digital movie sound decoder, line doubler, DVD player, and popcorn.

Ya know what, ive been thinking about doing that, there ARE problems associated with it, but nothing somebody cannot overcome.

My issue is this. My HT setup is in the rumpus room in the basement. The ol' lady and i really dont spend a whole lot of time down there. Mostly to watch movies. Most of the time we are upstairs or on the deck, or the kitchen, etc etc

So in my particular case, a 2 chanel music setup in the livingroom upstairs would probably be the most ideal, and leave the HT downstairs.

If you are spending 25% of your life watching TV you need to use your time more wisely. Rembember you only get one life, use it wisely.

There is more activity taking place in your brain when you are asleep than when you are staring at the screen!
Nrchy, good point.

25% of 24 hours is 6.

So CaptinCapitalism, you mean to say you watch 6 hours of TV a day? Wow.
Thats some true dedication!

I watch maybe 6 hours a week!

Slappy, you just considered hardware. A "HIGH END" HT would have $18,000 in chairs alone. We are not talking great sound here. We are talking HIGH END HT, which by the way is just as much environment and video as it is sound. Just my 2 cents
Slappy, I wouldn't say that I cannot appreciate the film on a system like yours, but I enjoy it much more on a system like mine.

My best friend has the BP3000TL and CLR3000. Keeping up with his bass is why I upgraded from my Infinity Kappa 9/kappa 8 combo to the IRS line. I think that my system sounds a lot better than his.

If you want to see something you can get for $30,000 that is a lot more than a small improvement, check this out:
I have one. It is so impressive that when people come over, they are blown away by my speakers (Infinity IRS Betas for surrounds, IRS V for mains) yet once they sit on the Odyssee and see some movie clips, they are MORE impressed with the Odyssee. It is not a small upgrade and there is no cheap version of the Odyssee (buttkickers are no more a scaled down motion simulator than a horse is a scaled down airplane).

As for a $50K HT, I passed that long ago and still find MAJOR improvements that I want to make.
On HT I am in the visual school. I have a Dukane overhead projector and I can really tell the differance between quality movies.

the sound system is designed for music. The system is two channel and the DAC is in my Audio Aero Mark II CD player.

I wath movies. I listen to my music. The sounds supporting my HT are mor than enough.

Just beware one thing. With Copy Protected Satellite/DVD and High Definition units coming on line, lots of used stuff is going to get old, real quick. I suggest buying 'okay' stuff for now and give the industry a couple of years to sort itself out.
Unclejeff, you are thinking that the industry WILL sort it out. The problem with that is that there is no such thing as an uncopyable digital file. You can make a digital file no more uncopyable than you can make water not wet.

DVD had copy protection, CSS, but it was cracked. Now, all DVDs can have their copy protection removed, so even if all future DVD players had DVI w/HDCP outputs, you could pop a DVD in your computer and use analog output.

HDTV has a chance of being locked down with HDCP. I would give it a few months after a switch gets flipped and people cannot use their high dollar 9" CRT units and we will see HDCP get cracked. It hasn't been cracked yet because nobody cares about cracking it.

DVD's copy protection wasn't broken by a pirate - it was broken by the legitimate DVD owner who wanted to play the disc in his own equipment. HDCP will be putting itself in the same situation. Like boxing's maxim of never betting on the white guy, we will have a corporate security system against a handful of skilled young hackers on a mission. You can guess where I would put my bet.

Also, remember that to make a few CRT front projectors obsolete, they will also be making over A HUNDRED MILLION voting Americans television sets just as useless. I don't know what congressmen would want to do that except maybe Fritz and Hollings.

Yeah, i see what you are saying and i guess i kinda agree with you

What i got is great for movies, but it really doesent have the whole "Theater experience"

Ive seen chairs at american furniture warehouse that are designed for HT, pretty posh, but far from the best.

I wonder how many people have a high end HT. It seems like that would be an entirely different world than what most people have.

You'd need a HDTV, at least 63in HDTV or better yet a projector, 7.1 system pumpin at least 200 WPC on all identical full range speakers, instead of tratitional Small surrounds. Not to mention a couple 1000WPC subwoofers But i guess even that wouldnt be consider3ed high end even if you were running brystons. To have it a "High end" i guess i agree, it would require HT seating, massive sound dampers to give it that shush sound, Draps on walls, Sconce lighting, etc etc

I guess a high end HT would not only be good equipment, but also the atmosphere to provide the cinematic experience.

Most of the people I talk to are in agreement that "Home Theater" means a projector when you are talking about high-end. Unfortunately, a TV/VCR combo will be marketed as a home theater when in fact it is a TV/VCR combo.

The wattage doesn't make or break it, as you could run plenty loud on 2 watt per channel amps if you had Avant Garde speakers. You don't have to have 7.1 to be high-end, nor do you "need" a subwoofer if your mains are beefy enough. I don't run a subwoofer at all, as my bass actually is diminished when I route the LFE from my mains and into a sub.

There is no official definition of high end home theater, but around here and over at AVS, you will be looking at an HDTV/Data Grade front projector, DD/DTS system (5-7.X channel) and capable of hitting reference level across the audio spectrum. You would also be running premium equipment in the majority of the componentry.

All identical speakers wouldn't be a requirement - otherwise somebody with Martin Logan Prodigy speakers on all channels would drop from high end by upgrading his mains to E2 Statements.
You got it Slappy:)
All depends on how you spend that $18K! If you think it's simply a matter of getting the best gear you can fit into that budget, you'll end up falling short of stellar performance. The gear is really less than half of the equation really...and the reason most never achieve truelly top caliber restults with this stuff!
If you read your magazine articles over the past several years(HT mag, Stereophile GHT mag, AV Interiors, Perfect Vision, whatever.), you'll read article after article of the importance of acoustics, equipment set up, speaker and seating placement, tweeking, calibration, knowledge, skill, and experience in doing this stuff right!
IF you want to do this right, you'll need expert help.
people like, PMI,and others offer some high end consulting for not too too much. YOu might look into it.
Otherwise, there's virtually infinite choices in quality, applicable gear for your needs out there, even on the used market. But the consulting and expert help..that you can't be some liberal with...chose qualified help. That's what my extensive experience around doing this stuff right has reinforced over the years. good luckk......
18k for high end theater?
Probably not. High end is more than equipment, its installing a real movie theater with awesome gear in your house.

what will 18k get you?

a Damn good HT system.

Here is a recipet that would be hard, very hard to beat for that price.

Denon AVR-3803, 192/24b Dacs, 7.1, 110w ch MSRP 1200
Denon DVD 2900. DVD-A, SACD, Prog Scan. MSRP 1000
KEF Q1 bookshelf speakers. X 7 225.00ea MSRP 1575
Def Tech Supercube x2, Total=3000W, 1199Ea MSRP 2400
Speaker Stands, lets say 150 Each TOTAL 1050
Monster Cabling. Lets put a price cap at 1k.Total 1000
Mitsubishi WS-65859 65" HDTV Platinum series MSRP 4050
---------Total 12275----------

This will give you all the features, 7.1 sound from identical speakers (yes it makes a difference, same driver and same enclosure), you can play SACD, DVD-A, you have a big-ass screen...

You would have to spend quite a bit of money to beat this. You could always go with a projector, but only if you plan on using this solely for HT, or else you will watch TV in the dark.
The speakers are not too expencive, but they can easily compete with speakers far more expencive, these Q1s are awesome.
The Denon 3803 has just about the right power for these speakers, plus it has real clean sound for an AV, i own one of these and it is the best reciever i have ever heard.
The DefTech Supercubes provide enough bass to make your stomache churn. An if you ask me, DefTech makes some of the best subwoofers in the planet, specially for the price.

So, this leaves you with about 5,500 for Accoustical treatments, HT chairs, and a crap load of popcorn and a couple DVD's to get you going.

Not to mention enough to get some diamond earrings to get the wife off your back, and on your front. hahahaha
Well let's be honest, alot of people here are "Toy Boys". People who want to have the latest, greatest stuff. When the newest Video card comes out for the computer, they have to go out and get it! The grass is always greener on the newest side of the fence.

Some have priorities in their HT, some in 2 channel. Some don't care much about any of this and spend money on their cars or kids or whatever. It's all about personal preference, your perspective and your disposable income level.

Saying "it sounds fine to me, why would I spend that kind of money on the more expensive stuff" means 1) it does indeed sound fine to you or 2) you sure would love to spend the extra jack on the really pricey stuff but just can't and thus: it's good enough for you because it has to be. Let's face it, we can't all keep up with Jones of the world.

We are in a very "niche" market. Therefore, many of us don't know of many people like us. My system is the best thing anyone I know has ever heard. It cost an arm and a leg (to me). But many of you would come to my house and say "Decidedly Lo-Fi...but passable for YOU I suppose".

Hi End is all about perpective and your affordability level.

It's like Rolex (or Choupard etc) people. To them it's art, quality timepeice, and jewelry all in one. To others it's a overpriced watch that tells time no better than a Timex. Would I own a Rolex? Hell no. Would I own a Rolex if I made 10x the money I make now? Probably.
Why buy a Rolex when you could instead buy another HDTV set?
I totally agree! I'd love a nice projector and screen setup but if I had that kind of diposable income I could pretty much buy whatever I wanted.

For now I'll stick with my $30 Timex "Expedition" and my lo-end (high-end to me and everyone I know) HT system ;)

Well a funny thing happened. I just came into a lot of money. I now have a budget of about $35K. I guess I should change the thread to: Is $35K enough?
Anyway, I just ordered my gear today. The gear is in my virtual system.